The death of a dog as part of a medical-device sales demonstration at the Cleveland Clinic Jan. 10 has triggered an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to published reports, as well as attracted a maelstrom of adverse publicity for the clinic and the devicemaker, Micrus Endovascular Corp.,San Jose, Calif. The dog was used in the demonstration of an aneurism coil made by Micrus, which is implanted to stop damage in the brain. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an aneurism was induced in the dog, and it was euthanized after the procedure. PETA learned of the demonstration on the day of the event and called leaders at the clinic and Micrus to offer an alternative method of demonstrating the device that wouldn’t involve animals, said Shalin Gala, a PETA research associate. Gala said the clinic and Micrus didn’t respond.
In a statement, the Cleveland Clinic said it is committed to the ethical treatment of animals and doesn’t allow procedures with animals for the sole purpose of sales training. "The situation that occurred (Jan. 10) was unauthorized and not in compliance with our policy," according to the statement. The clinic said it reported the incident to the USDA and is conducting an internal review, but the clinic didn’t confirm or deny the existence of a USDA investigation. Carolyn Bruguera, Micrus’ vice president and general counsel, said that to her knowledge Micrus officials didn’t know of a nonanimal alternative to the demonstration and that she hasn’t been contacted by USDA investigators. Bruguera said the company had no further comment. USDA officials were unavailable because of the holiday.